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January 8, 2015

Mean Green Beans?

Confession time… There are some days when something as simple as a green bean can really piss me off.

Sure, I’m committed to healthy eating – and for two main reasons. First, to stay, well, healthy. Second, to keep the 250 pounds of excess weight (that I got rid of) from ever creeping back on. Because I was overweight for a large part of my life, eating healthy foods in healthy portions is something I find I always must think about. I liken it to riding a bicycle. The minute I stop peddling, I fall down, skin my knees and potentially gain 250 pounds.

This all amounts to a whole heck of a lot of self-regulation. And there are many rewards for doing so: Wearing a pair of jeans without being in total misery until I disrobe… Not accidentally realizing that I’m using my stomach as a makeshift shelf to rest my hands or other objects on (yes, I’ve done it)… Not being out of breath just from talking on the phone… And more.

But even with all of these great rewards, there are days I resent what’s required of me to stay fit and healthy. And on certain days, the targets of this resentment are green beans.

Yes. You read that right. Green beans.

I target green beans in particular because they have become a staple of my healthy eating regimen. A typical dinner for me consists of a medium to large-sized chicken thigh, sliced cherry or grape tomatoes and steamed green beans. And most times when I have this meal, I enjoy it greatly. Afterwards I’m satisfied and full – but never stuffed or in pain from eating too much. And I know it’s these ‘stricter meals’ that allow for ‘treat meals’ when special occasions or big time cravings call for it. It’s all about balance after all.

Still, there are times that green beans really piss me off. I resent having to clean them, steam them and having to sprinkle a little balsamic vinegar over them before sitting down to my typical Gregg dinner. I wonder to myself, ‘Why can’t I be having pizza instead? Or maybe a pile of mashed potatoes smothered in butter?’

There are occasions during which I’m convinced that green beans are out to get me. I see them, all bunched together (a gang, if you will) – smugly mocking me from the safety of the plate, as if they’re saying, “You have no choice but to eat us.”

Of course, the joke is on them – mainly because I remind myself that I do have a choice. It’s absolutely my choice to have the green beans. Or mashed potatoes. Or an ice cream sundae or a… Well, you get the idea. I can eat anything I want for dinner.

It’s at this point that I must think about what I really want. ‘Really’ being the key word.

Sure, I could forego green beans all together. I could replace them with another healthy vegetable that I can steam and enjoy (on most days) without added salt, butter or other substances that would make the vegetables less healthy. The fact is, green beans provide an affordable and healthy meal staple for me. And by eating them, I get all the benefits of looking good and feeling great. Isn’t that worth a little resentment from time to time?

As dieters, we often think we’re being denied certain things in life. And for most of us, those ‘things’ are food related. But here’s where we can all benefit from a shift in thinking. It’s not about what we’re being denied, but what we get in return for the choices we make: Smaller waistlines. Healthier heart rates. Clothes that fit. And knowing we look good when we walk into a room. Isn’t that worth the occasional harassment from a gang of spiteful green beans? I think so. And I’ll bet you do, too.

So next time you feel mocked by your healthy food choices, put a fork in them and chew them up gleefully. In other words, remind ‘em whose boss. After all, it’s the healthy choices we make today that benefit us tomorrow.

Do green beans or another healthy food staple sometimes piss you off? If so, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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6 Responses to “Mean Green Beans?”

  1. Karen says:

    Gregg,
    Great article. Had to laugh when I read the sentence… I might fall down, skin my knees and gain 250 lbs. Sometimes it does feel that weigh creeps up very quickly!
    I share your view on green beans – I am learning to love them two and encourage my kidss to eat them more often. Haven’t tried them with balsamic vinegar yet – will do that soon.
    Keep your interesting posts coming. They are therapy for those of us starting out.
    Kind regards,

    Karen

  2. Gregg says:

    Glad you can laugh and commiserate with me at the same time, Karen. Thanks for your kind words. And please, let me know if you like the drizzle of Balsamic vinegar on the steamed green beans. I find it helps immensely!

  3. Matt says:

    What’s unhealthy about butter?

  4. Gregg says:

    When eaten in moderation, any pure and “clean” food can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet. Even butter. For more on the subject of butter and our health, click here: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine-features/is-butter-really-back/

  5. a different Karen says:

    I just finished reading your book – I am not fat but yes I have a lot of excess weight I need to remove from my body to look and feel better. It has been 30 years of this excess weight but I know that this can be done. I too had a awful mother. She would beat me so bad that I could not go to school because of hand prints and bruises but when we were home, she made wonderful food for both of us. You know, beat me and then buy be jewelry, well she beat me and then fed me cake. It all felt so good then.
    Now the reason I write today – I love green beans and now since I have been reading your blog, I will have green beans all the time no matter how much they cost. I love them. I have no problem paying $8 for a cheesecake slice at cheesecake factory, but $2 a lb for green beans I thought was too much. Not any more. I will pay whatever fresh veggies cost and scream at the obscene amount for a piece of cake.

  6. Gregg says:

    Your post means the world to me, Karen. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal. I love saying “We are all Weightless” because it’s really true. We are all survivors — no matter if we have some excess weight to deal with or not. And green beans can be everyone’s friend. LOL! I love that you buy them for yourself no matter the season. That’s a wonderful attitude. And a wonderful commitment to yourself and your health. I, too, buy a lot of produce and it’s not cheap. But as my doctor says “It’s worth every penny” in regard to my health. Your post has made my day. And I’m sure it’s touching other readers’ lives in positive ways as well. Thank you so much! I hope you’ll visit the blog often and share when you feel like it. Until then, from my green beans to yours… CHEERS!


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